EVERY FEW MINUTES, a ferry traverses Goa’s Mandovi River between Panjim and the village of Betim. This free river crossing is for the use of pedestrians and those riding two-wheelers. The ferryboat is loaded via an elevatable ramp.
As soon as the ramp touches the concrete landing stage, a wave of pedestrians and motorbikes surge from the boat onto the shore. As they do so, the waiting pedestrians and vehicles swarm on to the ferry.
On arrival at Betim, we walked away from the landing place along a busy country road lined with shops, shacks, and much tropical vegetation. It was not long before we reached the small restaurant set back from the road, which had been recommended to us.
Although it was nearly noon, the eatery seemed rather lifeless. Eventually, we saw a man emerging from it. He showed us a menu. We asked him if all the dishes were available. He replied:
“Everything is available.”
After a pause, he added:
“Today kitchen is closed.”